Featherweight hopeful Oscar Valdez headlined a Top Rank card on truTV tonight, live from the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. The former Mexican Olympian took on Chris Avalos, who represents one of Valdez’s toughest opponents in both experience and ability.
Avalos was never as talented as Valdez, and he paled by comparison as an athlete to Valdez, but he is a tough outing for anyone. Avalos has only ever lost to undefeated fighters, although Carl Frampton is the only fighter in Avalos’ loss column that is still undefeated today.
Valdez was quicker and busier to begin the fight. He was using his hand speed to completely outmaneuver his opponent. He wasn’t outclassing Avalos, but he was outworking him. Avalos was putting forth an effort, but he wasn’t anywhere near Valdez’s effective work rate.
Avalos did his job by coming forward, that was his role in the fight, and it was the part the fans christened him to play. Valdez used Avalos’ aggressiveness against him and was able to capitalize off of it from the inside. Valdez was getting tagged, not hard, but enough, and it continued the theme of most Valdez fights.
In the 3rd round, and after Valdez was dominating for most of the round, Avalos connected on a hard left hand that backed his opponent off of him for the first time in the fight. Valdez began to retreat and Avalos did his best to take advantage of the opportunity.
But after turning up the pressure in an effort to further hurt a retreating Valdez, Avalos was caught with a wide left hook on the temple. The shot looked a bit high, but it certainly had its effect as Avalos’ legs wobbled and then fell to the canvas. Avalos barely beat the count, and if the bell hadn’t rung I believe Valdez would’ve finished him in that round.
They say that a fighter “can’t be saved by the bell,” which means a downed fighter must make it to his feet regardless of whether or not the 3-minute mark expires before the 10-count. However, in the case of Valdez-Avalos’ 3rd round, Avalos was certainly not saved by the bell.
Avalos recovered enough to give off the mystique of a fighter ready to continue, and possibly compete. But in reality Avalos was damaged goods and every shot he took from that moment on would only serve as a risk towards his overall health.
Valdez continued to work and didn’t get overzealous. Avalos, to his credit, made it a firefight in the round following the knockdown. Both fighters exchanged and the excitement level grew immensely.
However, the fight was nearly over and it was becoming more evident that Avalos was too hurt to competitively continue. And in the 5th round, with nearly two minutes left and Valdez’s performance developing more and more, the referee stopped the fight as Avalos wobbled on a two-punch combination.
Valdez said he hopes that Top Rank will give him their blessings to step up to the world title stage. He believes he is ready, and he is ready. There are still some holes in his game and there are things he could improve on, but those inefficiencies seem to be part of the Valdez package. He is ready for the best in spite of those flaws because his game is getting so good that he is able to compensate for his other struggles.
In the evening’s co-feature, Jesse Hart was able to TKO Aaron Pryor Jr. in the 9th round of their scheduled 10 rounder.